A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
All people (and most animals) are accepted for who they are. It's a lesson in emotional intelligence, which is the strength of this show.
Be yourself. Love who you are, no matter who you are. Friends are beautiful together. Respect people's differences. Talking about things can help. Put trust in people who deserve it. Learning to focus on your breathing can help you focus, help you stay calm. Let go of the negative stuff. Just because you can't do it right now doesn't mean you won't ever be able to do it. Find the way that works the best for you. Learn what works for you. The trick to not being ashamed is not to hide it. You don't need to be ashamed of your body. We all have weird stuff going on with our bodies. Respect friends who have different needs than you.
Positive Role Models
Though Arlo and his friends live on their own, they seem pretty young. The adults in Arlo's life can be helpful, or superficial, but Arlo himself is very positive and upbeat. His best friend, Bertie, is patient with Arlo's enthusiasm, even when she wants to be alone.
This show is all about diverse representations -- whether it's racial diversity, gender fluidity, body size and shape, age, or class background. There is a Black female mayor, a character who struggles with ADHD, and a main character who has a large body. Everyone embraces their differences, enjoying the different perspectives that they bring to everyday life.
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Violence & Scariness
Some peril (characters fall from great heights), violent scenes (a seagull bashes a cat's head on the concrete), ghosts as a theme, some threat from characters who are chasing after Arlo.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Male butts shown (in swimsuits).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink "an aperitif" at sundown, characters party for three days straight and complain about headaches (implied hangover) afterward, a character gets high off of catnip (implied marijuana use). Kids might not understand the references, but teens and adults will.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that I Heart Arlo is a musically driven spin-off of the Netflix movie called Arlo the Alligator Boy. Characters are eccentric, like to party, garden, grill, eat pizza, dance, do hair, and fix up their New York City neighborhood by the sea. There are all sorts of characters who form a colorful community: some are human, some are part animal, some are cross-dressing, some are challenged with ADHD or feelings of depression. There is some drinking and catnip indulging (the effect of which is to make the character act like she's high on marijuana). Though the lessons of togetherness and inclusion are universal messages, the party vibe of this show could be too mature for younger viewers.
Is It Any Good?
Charming, irreverent, colorful, and fun, this cartoon has a soft heart. I Heart Arlo is full of music, antics, pizza, and catnip. Its characters are individuals with a capital "I," which can seem self-conscious at times, but the music and the good vibes are pretty contagious. Some over-the-top gay caricatures can feel like they are playing stereotypes, and it's hard to tell if it's an in joke or not.
This show might trip some triggers for people whose lives are not being lived in urban areas where eccentricity is the name of the game. But tweens will be drawn into the situational, comedic relationships and the caring spirit of Arlo and his friends. Adults might enjoy the right-on vibe too, and the music does pick you up when you're feeling down.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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